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mountain bike magazine

EXCLUSIVE STORY |Slow Down| 5 RIDER PROFILE | Piyush Chavan at Fort William | 12 FRESH JUICE | Lumos Thrill Seeker Solar bag | 17 FRESH JUICE | Wildcraft Java 22 bag | 22 FRESH JUICE |iXS Phobos helmet | 23 FRESH JUICE |Scott Watu helmet | 24 FRESH JUICE |Fox Dirtpaw Race Gloves | 25 FRESH JUICE |Alpinestars Aero Gloves | 26 FRESH JUICE | Sun Ringle ZuZu pedals | 27 BIKE CHECK | Mondraker Dune XR | 28 WHATS UP | Nepal Reboot | 30 20 INCH EXCLUSIVE | Freestyle Therapy | 32

Rider: Anil Kumar Location: Sitlakhet (Uttarakhand), INDIA

A lot of things have been keeping us busy lately but we are finally out with our issue #27 after a long delay. Nepal witnessed an unfortunate earthquake recently which has affected the country majorly. But after a hard work and support from around the globe this Himalayan country is rising again and back in business. Our exclusive story “Slow Down� from Nepal will inspire you to check out the brilliant trails this country offers. Meanwhile, our desi shredder Piyush Chavan became the first Indian to race at British Downhill Series at Fort William. Check out the exclusive interview of this hero followed by a lot of product reviews. We are also excited for the coming Himalayan Mountain Bike Festival in Manali aka The Mountain Biking Capital of India and we will be brining you full coverage of this mega event in the Himalayas. Enjoy issue #27.

Vineet Sharma

Founder, Editor-in-Chief | COVER PHOTO: Vinay Menon RIDER: Ajay Padval LOCATION: Pune, Maharashtra (INDIA) Contributing Editors and Photographers ISSUE # 27 Tangi Rebours, Ang Thesering, Sarah Barrett, Ajay Padval, Anuj Adhikary The Team: Editor in Chief: Vineet Sharma Deputy Editor: Vinay Menon BMX Agent: Dipak Panchal Photo Editor: Malcolm McLaws Himalayan Trails Minister: Naveen Barongpa Web Master: Cephas Joseph

Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine #410, Sector: 10 Panchkula (Haryana). 134109 - INDIA. ........................................................ This magazine is intended for free distribution and is only available through our web portal. E-mail us for more details. ........................................................ Feel free to write or contribute. E-mail at: |

Words: Tangi Rebours| Photography: Ang Thesering

Fast food, fast cars, fast tracked, fast bikes‌ Everything and everybody nowadays has to be fast. I still wonder why in our society we always apologize for our lack of speed? FR MTB MAG | 5

I don’t consider myself a lazy man but I like to take my time.

When I am in a rush I usually make a lot of mistakes, in life and on my bike… To escape the pressures of modern life I like to take my bike to the mountains, alone or with friends, and enjoy time without keeping any record, without a watch, back to basic needs, and simple pleasures…


My playground for my adventures is the Himalaya, east Nepal: Solukhumbu to be more precise. An ancient land still untouched by mass tourism and definitely the best place that I’ve ridden. When you ride the trails you can’t help thinking that the people who built them thought that mountain bikers would come here one day, they are so much fun to ride.


The ultimate place on this trip is Pikey peak, 4050 meters high.

Here you can enjoy the view of 8 summits over 8000m high: Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest), Makalu, Kanchenjunga, Annapurna, Lhotse‌. they are all here and just for you. FR MTB MAG | 8

Standing there in front of these giants, admiring the sunrise gives you a priceless feeling of immensity, a simple pleasure that cannot be measured by time.


To reach this summit takes 3 days, pedaling 3 days for a downhill!! I’ve already heard many riders used to lifts protesting about the practice of this kind of torture. Quantity and quality are two very different and separate things. On this journey we pass through local villages where you can see that the use and value of time is very different than the one people experience in our modern societies. The rhythm of the day is still dictated by the sun, by the season, and a watch is a very small insignificant object. Here time is flexible. These trips to the mountains really make me realize we need to slow down. FR MTB MAG | 10

Eighteen year old downhill racer from Pune, India Piyush Chavan, is one among the handful of mountain bikers who strive to raise the tri color. A student on weekdays, Piyush spends his weekends sideways blasting local trails. Earlier this year he got the opportunity to race ‘round 2’ of the British Downhill Series in Nevis Range, UK. Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine caught up with the young gun to know more about his speed times.

Interview: Vinay Menon | Photography: Himalayan MTB Network, Vinay Menon, Sarah Barrett FR MTB MAG | 12

FR MTB MAG: How did the British Downhill Series come up on your 2015 plan? Piyush - We all have watched a lot of world cup races and in most of them the tracks are sketchy and gnarly. But you don’t really know till what extent it can be gnarly. I wanted to check this out for myself and since the British Downhill Series is so famous it wasn’t hard to mark the calendar for the round 2 at Fort William. Gave me a chance to actually go and witness track conditions and the gnarliness!

FR MTB MAG: You’ve raced the Himachal Downhill Mountain Bike Trophy, Asia Pacific comp and now the Brit Nationals, how have these race appearances helped you progress as a racer? Piyush - Every race has had its own shares of lessons, at some races I’ve failed miserably and that’s what has motivated me to perform really well at the ones I’ve excelled at. I’m starting to get a feel of how Elite level racing is and this year I’m hoping to soak it all in and give my best shot!


FR MTB MAG: How has your training structure changed, now that you are racing more often? Piyush - Since I’ve had a brutal taste of competition ahead of me. I’ve started focusing on my diet and pushing my limits on the bike in areas and conditions I wouldn’t normally train on.

FR MTB MAG: British Downhill Series sees some of the world’s fastest DH racers in attendance, how was your experience meeting your idols? Piyush - It was an exhilarating experience to meet riders like Loic Bruni, Gee, Sam Bull, Josh Bryceland whom I’ve kept looking upto and I got a chance to see for the first time how these racers race on a world cup track. It was insane how much speed they carried through all rougher sections despite the poor weather. Some of them gave some inputs that I will keep investing my time in.

FR MTB MAG: Fort William course is regarded as one of the toughest tracks to race on, how did u manage to keep your speed up? Piyush - I’ve practiced on the Sinhagad track near Pune and since it’s always so exposed and rocky it pretty much made ready to tackle Fort Bill. Although at Fort William’s I felt dialed in the rocks and the steeps even though I was slow. The jumps were really big, I’ve never hit a 40ft jump in my life and had a hard time casing it. During the race I stayed low and chose the easier line instead.

FR MTB MAG: What difference did you see in the scene there compared to India, in terms of riding quality, sponsor support and track design? Piyush - Hundreds of riders showing up to race a world cup track? That says all about why UK is so dominant in the sport. I felt sponsorships there would be available but really hard to get since the competition was so high.


FR MTB MAG: What are the other races you plan to attend this season? Piyush - I’m currently training for Himachal Downhill Mountain Bike Trophy in July followed by some Asian level races.

FR MTB MAG: Any shout outs? Piyush - To my sponsors - Scott, Lifecycle and Multifit. Also to Alaistair Maclennan, Nevis cycles and Shane Morril for the best times indeed.


Imagine cycling to Ladakh and capturing epic sceneries at every stretch and soon you realize your phone or camera battery has drained just when you reached “The Spot” to be captured for lifetime memories or your GPS battery has drained out while mapping your ride. A simple solution has been developed recently by ‘Lumos’ a company that specializes in designing and creating power-packed bags and accessories for the outdoors.

We received ‘Thrill Seeker’ solar hydration daypack from Lumos that can solve the above mentioned scenarios. This hydration bag comes with a solar powered 4000-mAh battery that is good enough to charge your gadgets while you’re on the go or off the grid. Lumos bags have a unique, lightweight solar fabric stitched onto the upper face of the bag. This converts sunlight into electricity, which is stored in a 4000-mAh battery inside the bag. You can use this energy to power your GPS devices, bicycle lights, phone and any other USB powered gadgets on the go. The battery is replaceable and upgraded versions can be used with the same bag.

Words & Photography: Vineet Sharma


The bag sports a universal output through the USB port, capable of delivering current from 100mA to 1.5A. According to Lumos, their bags can generate current even in lower lighting conditions through a process called ‘trickle-charging. We tried to use bag on a cloudy day and it did work as expected. Infact my Mp3 player, action cam, chargeable USB light and the legendary cell phone got 100% charged in this condition!

A power cable and 6 multi connector pins are provided with the backpack which should be compatible with some of your devices. According to Lumos, new smartphones and gadgets which uses the USB 3.0 slot cannot be charged. However new battery upgrades are still under development and USB 3.0 upgrade should be in the market by the end of this year.


Ensure that the cap is tightly sealed. There are chances of the battery pack to come in contact with water if the cap is loose. This can cause the battery pack to malfunction.

12L overall volume of the bag sounds decent enough to carry basic items that you might need during your ride. However, the compartments given inside the bag could have been bigger in size. The pockets are just enough to hold small items like MP3 player, a Swiss knife and a regular size cell phone or a GPS. The rest you have to fit here and there which was a bit disappointing. It’s more fun when things are organized in your day pack.

Staying hydrated is more important than charging up the gadgets. But we have no issues when both points are solved with one product. Lumos Thrill Seeker is a 12 litre hydration bag that can hold up-to 3L hydration bladder. The bladder is not provided by the company but your regular Camelbak or similar soft shell bladder is compatible. We hooked our bag with the 3L bladder from Camelback which got in just fine in the compartment.

There is a small pocket with reflective tape on the bottom of the bag which can be used to stuff your multi tool kit or a tube. We mainly used this pocket to store the rain cover provided with the bag. A special velvet lined compartment for sunglasses is also provide which is good feature. You can also store your small camera here and prevent it from scratches. The side mesh pockets can be used to carry a small size pump or your energy bars only while 2 zip pockets on waist strap can be used to keep money and other small stuff. FR MTB MAG | 19

The chest strap is equipped with a rescue whistle and holds the bag firmly combined with the adjustable waist strap. A decent quality fluorescent green rain cover is provided which will be visible from long distance too. FR MTB MAG’s take:

For some reason the fitting of the bag is small when actually strapped on the back and feels funny. But it has an advantage of letting more air flow while the shoulder straps of this pack are made of perforated foam, allowing for greater airflow. However, the mesh material used on the back contact area becomes soggy on long days and takes time to dry.

The overall design and material used is reasonable and the stitching seems rigid. We feel the zips could have been of better quality preferably with waterproof taping which would have made the bag look and function better too.

A better quality mesh can eliminate this unpleasant feeling which everybody hates.

Lumos Thrill Seeker is designed keeping cyclists in mind who like to live with gadgets around. It is also great bag for people into hiking or even students and working professionals in urban areas who enjoy an array of electronic gadgets they can’t bear to be without. The bag performed well for what it’s intended for – Charging basic electronic gadgets while riding or hiking. The day pack is well executed however, large size pocket compartments, better quality zippers and the back contact panel could have made it even better. The product is available in 3 colors: Olive, Blue and Orange. We’d recommend trying the Lumos Thrill Seeker which can be purchased for INR 7499 from We will be testing Lumos Thrill Seeker bag in various terrain and different weather conditions in coming months. Stay tuned for more details. FR MTB MAG | 20

Wildcraft has been working hard to improve their product quality which convinced us to try their Java 22 hydration bag recently. Java 22 looks decent quality bag for riding and comes with a Nylon spandex compartment for storing a helmet while you want to walk around with your bike. This 25L capacity bag also features an inbuilt hydration bladder pouch, perforated Litecell shoulder straps for enhanced breathability, dual airflow channels in the back system for better sweat management and an attached rain cover. The Wildcraft Java 22 also comes with an integrated aluminum stay that maintains the shape of your pack keeping it snug on your back.

This feature is not found on many riding hydration bags and may become lethal if one encounters a bad crash. Other features like abrasion resistant TPU loops to attach gear and elastic bands to secure longer straps can be useful when you want to store some extra gear while riding. Our test pilot Ajay Padval is currently testing the bag in hardcore conditions and we will share the full performance report in our coming issues.

Words: Ajay Padval | Photography: Vinay Menon FR MTB MAG | 22

Words: Ajay Padval | Photography: Vinay Menon

Our test pilot Ajay has also been using the IXS Phobos full face helmet since 3 months now, ridden it through heat, cold and rain. And is in a position to say that the vents are the most effective feature of the helmet. iXS Phobos helmet intended for DH and FR is a big steal at the price of apprx INR 7600. The design is very good but the only thing iXS could look over is the loop which is kind if snug and hard when it comes to loosen the helmet. It has a very good ventilation system and the foam does not cause any problems if you’re sweating or riding in rain. iXS Phobos shell made of shock absorbant ABS material and comes with an adjustable visor, removable paddings and plenty of ventilation.


Words: Ajay Padval | Photography: Vinay Menon The Scott Watu helmet is a full in-mold budget conscious helmet with a removable visor for everyday riding and weekend escapes. The RAS fit system, 16 vents, and light weight ensure that your helmet stays in place and you stay comfortable however you ride. This helmet was won by me in a recent XC race and has been through a lot of trail scouting and riding in various conditions. It has surprised me as it has stood strong all the way without any issues. Few good points about this helmet are: The 16 vents on the top keep a constant flow of cool breeze .The straps are easily adjustable and the mesh provided in the front vents saves the frontal lobe of my brain box from thorns, twigs, insects, and other creepy stuff you find on the Indian trails. A reflector on the back side provided safety by staying visible during night commuting in city.

Although 16 vents provides plenty of ventilation but I was unable to strap a POV camera as the mesh lining does not allow the cam straps to go in which is a setback. In other words, if you are using a Scott Watu helmet, you cannot strap a POV cam unless you have mounts that can stick on the shell.


Words & Photos: Vineet Sharma Our test pilot Jeewan Jeet Singh Dhillon has been testing Fox Racing Dirtpaw Race gloves for over a month now. This Dirtpaw race gloves are now available in a new better looking avatar but is there any addition compared to the older verison? Fox Racing manufactures quality gear and same is expected from these gloves which uses a completely padded knuckle, padded clarion palm and superior flex-point comfort. The silicone lever grip is placed where it should be and performs pretty well. It will also help you to swipe your smart screen phone with little bit of practice. The gloves are made of polyester and might not feel breathable, but they can be a good choice if you ride hard and tend to abuse your gear. They will handle it alright. The palm area material is reasonably tough and will protect your palms from occasional crash. The Velcro strap ensures a firm fit and will do its job without any issues and the overall comfort and protection is guaranteed. Apart from less ventilation we did not find any other issue with the Dirtpaw Race gloves and we hope they will last for the season with our test pilot. Features: • Material: 100% Polyester • Padded clarino palm • Clarino thumb guard • Silicone lever grip • Hook & loop closure • Padded knuckle Fox Racing Dirtpaw Race gloves are not available in India but can be purchased for apprx INR 2500 from various online bicycle store. FR MTB MAG | 25

Words & Photos: Vineet Sharma

Alpinestars have been making exceptional quality riding gear for decades and we got chance to check out the full finger Aero gloves. Alpinestars Aero Glove combines a supple fit with superior feel under the most challenging of conditions. Elasticized cuff closures and a convenient cloth patch ramp up this glove’s additional features. The gloves fitting is exceptionally good. Probably the most comfortable glove we have tried so far. This results in superb grip while riding and the silicone pattern on the palm and fingers ensures that your hand will not slip even when the weather is grim. The gloves are lightweight and breathable. Heat is controlled by large mesh panels that allow air to flow through the glove to keep your hand cool and dry while strategic perforations on the synthetic leather palm allow additional airflow. A terry-cloth thumb-panel is there for you when you need to quickly wipe sweat or snot away. These gloves have lasted for more than 5 months and are still good to go. Alpinestars Aero gloves are competitively priced at INR 1800 and are available at FR MTB MAG | 26

The Sun Ringle - ZUZU Pedals have been around for over 2 decades. These simple 6061 AL body BMX/Trials/DH platforms have seen more world cup podiums in BMX/Downhill racing than we can count. A design that’s been copied by many brands over the years, ZUZUs have given the platform addicts a pedal to grip on to.

By: Vinay Menon

Sun Ringle still has the ZUZU in their BMX lineup in the same design! Goes to show how reliable the pedals have been. I’ve been using a pair since 2001 on my old commute rig and is still holding strong. With zero play, smooth bearing, intact body, the ZUZUs are a keeper. Recently my main DH rig required a quick pedal replacement right before a ride. I tightened the 2001 ZUZU on and have been on it for the past 5 months of trashing! The legendary pedals are holding strong. With many supreme platform pedals available now with thin profile, wider body, better material, the Sun Ringle ZUZUs still have a good hold on them skate shoe bombers! PRODUCT SPECS: • Thread: 9/16 • Replaceable pins • Dimensions (W x L): 4” X 4” • Weight: 300g each • MRP: INR 4000 approx.


The Dune is a complete bike for Enduro practice. In 2014 the Dune was released with a new frame, 27´5” wheels and new kinematics resulting in higher absorption and pedaling efficiency. Edgar Carballo was the winner in the Spanish Championship and Roger -“Speedy”- González in the Open of Spain, both riding the Dune. Results are overwhelming. Roger, Jacobo Santana and Matthias Stonig, current members of the MS Mondraker Team of DH, have recently had the opportunity to show the absolute potential of the Dune in the Enduro World Series.


Apart from the sexy looking curves Mondraker Dune XR has 3 main features: 1: ZERO SUSPENSION SYSTEM Zero is the name given to Mondraker’s exclusive patented suspension system. Zero Suspension System offers unrivalled pedalling efficiency and performance on all full suspension models regardless of travel or discipline.

2: FORWARD GEOMETRY 2015 is the third season to feature Forward Geometry however this time it will be available on all full-suspension bikes in the collection. The benefits it produces through improved control, handling, confidence and stability over difficult terrain is immediately obvious. 3: STEALTH SIDE ALLOY STRUCTURE The Stealth Technology is the most advanced industrial design and structure optimization technology used in the Mondraker range. Stealth encompasses all processes involved in making the frame, from drawing on the initial inspiration to creating the industrial design, developing the tubes and performing manufacturing analysis of every single section to assure optimum performance. MONDRAKER DUNE XR SPECIFICATIONS: • FRAME: Dune 27´5 Stealth Evo alloy Zero Suspension System FG 160mm • REAR SHOCK: Fox Float X CTD Adjust Factory Kashima 215x63.5mm • FORK: Fox 36 27´5 Float RC2 FIT Factory Kashima 20mm tapered 160mm • HEADSET: FSA Nº57 ACB Bearings integrated tapered 1-1/8”->1/5” • STEM: Onoff Stoic FG 30mm • HANDLEBAR: Mondraker Dune XR custom design 1” 760mm • GRIPS: Onoff Diamond 1lock-on • SEATPOST: RockShox Reverb Stealth 31.6mm • SADDLE: SDG Circuit MTN • FRONT BRAKE: Formula CR3 180mm • REAR BRAKE: Formula CR3 180mm • LEVERS: Formula CR3 • WHEELSET: Mavic Crossmax XL 27´5 with 20mm front /12 X 142 rear hub • TIRES: Maxxis High Roller II TLR Dual Exo 27´5x2.3 • CRANKSET: Sram X1 1400 GXP 30T • BOTTOM BRACKET: Sram GXP XR 73mm • CHAIN: Sram PCX1 11s • REAR DERRAILLEUR: Sram X01 Carbon Type2 1x11 11s • SHIFTERS: Sram Trigger X1 11s

• CASSETTE: Sram PG-1180 10-42T 11s • WEIGHT: 13.1kg


Words & Photos: Anuj Adhikary

Gnarly has been an integral part of an initiative that works on creating direct and integrated impact on the ground. Here is what this team is upto after the recent unfortunate earthquake in Nepal. WHAT WE DO Firmly rooted in its modus operandi of merging social and business models, Gnarly uses cycling as a vehicle to make a positive mark in the society. In our mission to create a thriving cycling community and bring about a social reform, we are committed to provide professional biking skills training to female cyclists and at-risk youth. Furthermore, internship and employment opportunities for deserving candidates at Gnarly and partnering bodies further encourage trainees to pursue cycling seriously. Likewise, a certain portion of Gnarly’s returns is allocated for financing training programs for the beneficiaries.


As a responsible mountain biking company intent to bring about this sustained and positive impact on a social level, Gnarly has devised four major working areas: Events: Organize premium events to promote mountain biking and adventure sports Trips: Guide clients of all experience and biking skills to embark in biking journeys off the beaten track in the Himalayas Empower: Train to develop youth as professional mountain bikers Gnarly Sqadron Rides: Don’t have much experience riding mountain bikes? Don’t have a cool clique to ride with? Think you can’t do this race? Not to worry! Practice your skills with Gnarly Squadron Rides and prepare yourself for the most anticipated cycling meet of the year. Better yet - it’s free! We are equally keen in promoting culture and local economies of communities we travel to, whether through providing part-time employment to locals or helping in preservation of the environment and cultural diversity with responsible practices. In doing so, we intend to not merely showcase the Himalayas as an ideal adventure and travel destination, but we strive to create a solid and positive social impact. Gnarly has been an integral part of an initiative that works on creating direct and integrated impact on the ground. As such, we envision a resilient nation that will overcome the devastation resulted by the current calamity. Our focus goes towards long-term goals involving rebuilding not just houses, but also education and health, especially children and in addition to creating employment opportunities for villagers. Our volunteering activities are centered in Gerkhu, a village in Nuwakot district severely devastated by the April 2015 earthquake that claimed thousands of lives and affected millions in Nepal. Scheduled events: NAKHIPOT URBAN XC Nakhipot, Lalitpur, Nepal August 8, 2015 We’re introducing a Kids’ category in the race for the very first time in Nepal. Families that come to the event are invited to have their kids (below the age of 12) to participate in a short yet really enjoyable course. Besides being an entertaining addition to the race, the category serves to assimilate a culture of outdoors and sports in kids from an early age. Nepal is open for riding and we welcome you to check out the brilliant trails this Himalayan country offers.


By: Dipak Panchal | Sharptune As much as how all of us enjoy riding bikes, there’s a zone beyond the normal which requires hours and hours of practice every day only to come back the next day and try to re-learn everything you learnt the day before. BMX Freestyle, or Flatland or Trick riding, call it whatever but the kind of dedication and discipline it demands is phenomenal. FR MTB MAG | 32

I’ve been riding flatland since i was a kid, and until today I try and perfect my skills from the start every time i ride. Once the body adapts to a certain balance point of a trick, it needs to be frequently repeated so one doesn’t lose that point so easily, you end up doing the trick over and over and over again until you reach to a level of frustration and cannot ride anymore. FR MTB MAG | 33

Yet we come again the next day stoked and motivated to start it all over again, Flatland challenges your mental tolerance and trains you to be calm, its much beyond riding it’s a kind of meditation which opens the creative side of the mind and opens new dimensions of how you look at a certain trick. It’s like writing poetry with your BMX.



Photo: Vineet Sharma | Rider: Gautam Taode | Location: Solang Valley, Manali (INDIA)

mountain bike magazine

Profile for Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine

Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine #27  

Issue #27 - May 2015

Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine #27  

Issue #27 - May 2015


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